Abhijit Banerjee receives Nobel wearing dhoti-punjabi
Published : Wednesday, 11 December, 2019 at 3:07 PM Count : 428
Clad in a bandhgala punjabi and a dhoti, as Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee stepped onto the dais at Stockholm Concert Hall in Sweden on Tuesday afternoon — along with his wife Esther Duflo and colleague Michael Kremmer — to receive the Nobel Prize for their research in economics, the city, too, rose in unison in front of their TV sets just like the hundreds of delegates at Konserthuset, Stockholm, some 6,750kms away.
“This is what sets him apart. At the grandest stage of all, he is holding up Indian tradition. Apart from what he has achieved in his field, these small gestures set him apart from others and make us more proud of him. It was a wonderful moment for us, watching our childhood friend, Jhima, receive the honour and write history in his own right,” said Bappa Sen, reports Times of India.
Duflo wore a sari to the award ceremony. Among the audience was his family — mother Nirmala, children Noemi and Milan and brother Anirudha and his family — cheering for them. So were thousands of Kolkatans, including his friends, colleagues, neighbours and students from his alma mater. “He is an inspiration for all. He seems so down to earth. I would consider myself lucky if I get to meet him at least once, when he visits our university next month,” said Lakshmadeep Thakur, a first-year student of economics at Presidency University.
The university has decided to build a 3D wall with embossed images of Nobel winners Amartya Sen (1998) and Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee (2019) in the university’s main building. His name is already on the wall of fame and when he returns to Kolkata in January next year, the university’s alumni association has planned a gala felicitation for him. “Banerjee will receive this year’s Alumnus award as the youngest recipient. He was invited to the programme by the late Nabanita Deb Sen who was acting as the president of the association and with whom Abhijit shared a very personal relation. We are proud of his achievements and can’t wait to welcome him next month,” said Bivas Chaudhuri, secretary of the Presidency College Alumni Association.
Students and professors at the university spent most of the day, catching up with the updates about the ceremony on the Nobel Prize website that started live streaming the function at 8.30pm IST. “In the morning, the university witnessed a number of events around the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and National Register of Citizens. But Abhijit was in the limelight throughout the day,” said Saptarshi Chowdhury, a first-year student of social sciences.
Friends and neighbours at Saptaparni Apartment in Ballygunge were in awe. Abhijit is someone whom they have known personally. “I had met him during his brief stay at home two months ago, days after the award was announced. He was so humble and even as I gave him a small gift, he happily received it. It’s an honour to know a man like him,” said Sudeshna Chatterjee, a neighbour.
Friends and classmates were also glued to the television since early evening, to ensure they didn’t miss a moment of the grand ceremony.